What is a Preliminary Hearing at the Employment Tribunal?

Prior to the Full Hearing in your case, you may be asked to attend a Preliminary Hearing; this may deal with various matters including:

  • The issues in your case (especially if your case is complex, it may ask that the legal issues are clearly set out and agreed);
  • May decide how many witnesses are to be called by both parties;
  • May set the time, date, and process to be followed at the Full Hearing;
  • May decide legal matters, such as in the case of disability discrimination, what the disability is and whether an expert’s report is required;
  • It may provide a timetable when documents must be provided by both parties to the other party as well as when witness statements should be exchanged;
  • It may remind parties that they can use ACAS to assist with conciliation

If you need any help with processing your claim or advice about a preliminary hearing, please contact harsha@mooresolicitors.co.uk or on 07930 968788

 

 

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How to make an application to an Employment Tribunal?

As a claimant, you first need to consider what claims you have.  For example, is it unfair dismissal, sex discrimination, redundancy pay etc…

Then consider when the ‘event’ or incident occurred.  Most claims must be brought within 3 months (less one day) of the incident.

Also consider what outcome can be achieved and what you are seeking.

Next step is to contact ACAS and submit an Early Conciliation Form , which can be obtained from ACAS’s website – http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=4028

Complete the form and an ACAS Conciliator should contact you.  According to ACAS’s statistics, they settle about 17% of the cases at this stage.  If you case settles at this stage, no further action is required.

If it does not settle and you wish to continue with a claim, you will need to complete an Application Form for the Employment Tribunal.  You can obtain further information from – https://www.gov.uk/employment-tribunals

And to make a claim – https://www.gov.uk/employment-tribunals/make-a-claim

If you need any help with processing your claim or advice about a potential claim, please contact harsha@mooresolicitors.co.uk

What is unfair dismissal?

What is unfair dismissal?

Unfair dismissal is when your employer dismisses you for an unfair reason or they do not follow the correct process when they are dismissing you.

What are fair reasons for dismissal?

If your employer dismisses you for one of the following reasons, they will have a potentially fair reason:

  • a reason relating to your conduct, or
  • a reason relating to your capability to do the job or your qualifications, or
  • due to a redundancy situation, or
  • because there was a legal reason why your employer could not continue to employ you, or
  • because of some other substantial reason which would justify your dismissal

 

What is the correct process that my employer should follow?  

 

If your employer is dismissing you, they should follow the process outlined in the ACAS Code of Practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures.

Examples of unfair dismissal?

Unfair selection for redundancy; for example, your employer needs to make some redundancies but they do not follow fair criteria;

Or your employer dismisses you with immediate effect for a minor mistake without giving you the opportunity to improve your work.

Can I challenge my dismissal?

An unfair dismissal claim will mean challenging the fairness of your employer’s reason for dismissing you, or, the procedure that your employer followed when they dismissed you.

What are the time limits for challenging a redundancy dismissal?

To challenge your dismissal at an employment tribunal, you must bring a claim within 3 months from the date of your dismissal.

If you believe that your employer has failed to comply with fair dismissal or redundancy law, contact Harsha Moore or Caroline Rowlands on 01923 238 427.

How do you bring an Employment Tribunal claim?

It is possible for individuals to bring claims by themselves.  The Employment Tribunal Service website has the new Tribunal claim form, which can be obtained from https://www.employmenttribunals.service.gov.uk/employment-tribunals

It is important to remember that prior to starting a claim, individuals have to follow the ACAS Early Conciliation process, which allows the individual to contact ACAS, put forward what they plan to claim and what they are looking for in return, usually compensation and how much.  The ACAS form is fairly straight forward and can be completed online, further information is on the ACAS website as is the form http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=4028  .

If ACAS Early Conciliation is successful then there is no further action required.

If ACAS Early Conciliation is not successful then ACAS will issue a certificate and an individual will be able to complete and submit the Employment Tribunal claim form.  A fee is payable when submitting the ET1 form, or if appropriate a remission of the fee can be applied for.

Important – Time Limits

It is vital that you do not miss the Time Limit for bringing your claim.  For many types of claims, such as unfair dismissal and discrimination the time limit is 3 months from termination or the incident of discrimination.

There are ways that claims can still be brought outside of the time limit but you should be cautious and take legal advice on this.

Although claims can be brought by individuals it may be necessary to obtain legal advice beforehand, especially to ensure that you have covered all possible claims on your claim form and to tackle any issues of time limits.

Depression…what is defined as a disability?

Given the strains of modern life it is not uncommon to find that many people suffer with a level of depression, whether it is mild, moderate or severe. What level of depression would be covered by the Equality Act 2010 to protect the employee from unlawful disability discrimination?

Under the Equality Act 2010, disability is defined as an impairment which is long term and has a substantial adverse effect on the person’s day to day activities. Each section of this definition is explained further, so long term is that it has or is likely to last at least 12 months, substantial is considered to be at least more than trivial.

So if the person is ‘disabled’ under the Equality Act 2010, what additional support or protection can they receive? One of main benefits is that the employer needs to made reasonable adjustments for someone who is disabled. What is reasonable can vary vastly depending on the needs of the employee and the ability of the employer.

For someone with depression, it is worth considering what would help or alleviate the additional difficulties of work with the disability, for example, this could be avoiding commuting at rush hour, starting working slightly later and finishing later, short breaks away from the work station, change in use of capability procedure, providing stress management training or therapy etc….

The list could go on…but it is always worth remembering that the adjustment needs to be reasonable for the employee and employer.

Maternity Discrimination

Rights of a new mother?

Under the Equality Act 2010, it is unlawful to discrimination against an employee because of pregnancy or maternity leave or because the mother wants to return to work after maternity on the same or different hours.

Women do not have to show a comparison of less favourable treatment, but simply that they have been treated less favourably because of their maternity or pregnancy.  This is unlawful discrimination under the Equality Act 2010 both in terms of sex discrimination and maternity related discrimination.

Are women still be less favourably treated because of maternity leave or because they have a baby?

It would seem that they are.  I continue to have many enquiries from new mothers who are not being treated in the same way since they have informed their employer of their pregnancy or because they are looking to return to work after maternity leave.

What steps can you take?

As always it is important to keep a record of all that occurs; this includes, copies of emails, a short written record of any conversation relevant to the issues, notes of any meetings.

As a mother of a young child you can request flexible working; formally or informally.  This could vary in content depending on whether your employer has its own internal scheme or whether you follow the statutory scheme.

You should take advice as early as possible as the time limit for bringing an Employment Tribunal claim is 3 months from an incident of discrimination.  You can obtain advice from your trade union or the local Citizens Advice Bureau or a solicitor.  You can also obtain advice from ACAS and if you pursued a Tribunal claim of discrimination, you would have to follow the Early Conciliation process through ACAS.

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